Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF): Health Concerns

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18 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 2 μήνες)

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EMF exposure is very common, and so are questions about what this exposure
may mean. The following sections provide answers to some common questions
about EMF and concerns about health.
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Environmental Health Section
Environmental & Occupational Health
Assessment Program
410 Capitol Avenue MS# 11EOH, PO Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134-0308 (860) 509-7740
www.ct.gov/dph
Electric and Magnetic Fields
(EMF): Health Concerns

Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) are areas of energy that sur-
round any electrical device. Power lines, electrical wiring, com-
puters, televisions, hair dryers, household appliances and every-
thing else that uses electricity are sources of EMF. The magnetic
field is not blocked by buildings so outdoor sources like power
lines can add to the EMF inside your home. However, the field
decreases rapidly with distance so that most homes are too far
from high voltage lines to matter.
What is EMF?

EMF are commonly measured in units of gauss (G) by an instrument known as a
gaussmeter. A milligauss (mG) is 1000 times smaller than a gauss.
How Are Electromagnetic Fields
Measured?

Page 2
Despite extensive research over the past 20 years, the health risk caused by EMF expo-
sure remains an open question. Two national research organizations (the National Re-
search Council and the National Institute of Health) have looked at the studies and have
concluded that there is not strong evidence that EMF exposures pose a health risk. How-
ever, some studies have shown an association between household EMF exposure and a
small increased risk of childhood leukemia at average exposures above 3 mG. For can-
cers other than childhood leukemia, there is less evidence for an effect. For example,
workers that repair power lines and railway workers can be exposed to much higher EMF
Is EMF Exposure Harmful?

In a study that measured EMF in almost 1000 homes in the United States, 50% had
average EMF levels of 0.6 mG or less, and 95% had average EMF levels below 3 mG.
Keep in mind that these are average EMF levels within a home. EMF levels can be higher
(5 mG or more) when you are near a household appliance (or anything else that uses
electricity). EMF levels rapidly become weaker as you move away from the source.
What Are Typical EMF
Levels Within A Home?

Power lines that send electricity between towns and into neighborhoods
generally have the highest voltage. They are bigger and have more wires
than the distribution lines that are common on most streets. The high
voltage lines can have EMF levels of 30 to 90 mG underneath the wires,
depending on the voltage, height, and placement of the lines. EMF levels
decrease rapidly with distance from the lines. At 300 feet (a football
field), EMF is at background levels. In some cases, even closer distances
are at background. The distribution lines that run up and down every
street are smaller, contain lower voltage and are of less concern.
How High Are EMF Levels Near
Power Lines?

Page 3
How Can I Reduce My EMF
Exposure?

levels than the general public. The results of cancer studies in these workers is mixed.
Some studies have suggested a link between EMF exposure in electrical workers and
leukemia and brain cancer. Other similar studies have not found such associations.
There is also some evidence that utility workers exposed to high levels of EMF may be
at increased risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Although the current scientific evidence provides no definitive answers as to whether
EMF exposure can increase health risks, there is enough uncertainty that some people
may want to reduce their exposure to EMF.
If the power lines are more than 300 feet away, there should be no cause for concern.
At this distance EMF from the lines is no different from typical levels around the home.

If the power lines are less than 300 feet away from the home, you may want to obtain
EMF measurements in the yard. Most electric utilities in Connecticut will take meas-
urements for free. There are also private firms that will charge a fee for measurements.
To understand your measurement, consider that typical EMF levels found inside homes
EMF exposure depends on what EMF sources are nearby and how much time you spend
near them.

If you would like to reduce your exposure to EMF, you can take simple steps such as:

• Increase distance: for example, sit at arm's length from your computer or re-position
electric alarm clocks farther away from your body while in bed.
• Repair faulty wiring which may be generating higher than usual EMF.
• Turn off electrical devices such as televisions and computers when not in use.
• Use electric blankets to warm the bed, turning them off before getting into bed.
What Should I Do if a Home I Want
To Buy is Near High Voltage Lines?

Connecticut Department of Public Health
Environmental Health Section
Environmental & Occupational Health
Assessment Program
410 Capitol Avenue MS# 11EOH,
PO Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134-0308
(860) 509-7740
www.ct.gov/dph


Connecticut Siting Council
Ten Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051
Phone: (860) 827-2935
http://www.ct.gov/csc/site
siting.council@po.state.ct.us


range from 0.1 to 4 mG. EMF levels above this range are not necessarily hazardous, but indi-
cate EMF levels above what’s typical background inside a home.

Deciding where to live rests upon different considerations for each individual. EMF exposure
is just one of many factors in this decision. Other environmental health issues around a home
can include: radon, lead paint, asbestos, soil or groundwater contamination, local traffic and
noise. All of these factors should be considered when evaluating the home environment.

What are Best Management Practices (BMPs)?
When new power lines are constucted, they have the potential to increase EMF levels in an
area. The Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) reviews these plans. To ensure that the public’s
exposure to EMF is kept to a minimum, the CSC released a set of BMPs to be followed when
constructing new lines. The plans for new lines and their adherence to the BMPs will be on
file in town offices and are typically discussd at open forums prior to construction.
Revised 4/2008
(This fact sheet is funded in part by the
Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act trust fund
through a cooperative agreement with the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry, Public Health Service,
U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences report on health effects from EMF
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/

California Dept of Health Services: Electric and Magnetic Fields
http://www.ehib.org/cma/topic.jsp?topic_key=7

Connecticut Siting Council Best Management Practices
http://www.ct.gov/csc/lib/csc/emf_bmp/emf_bmp_12-14-07.doc

World Health Organization: International EMF Project
http://www.who.int/peh-emf/en/
Where Can I Find More Information?

Who Can I Call?